And making the Reds assignment even easier was that Nationals pitcher Cade Cavalli was making his major league debut.
When asked recently whom he compared himself with, the Nats’ No. 1 draft pick in 2020 said, “I say this humbly … Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. I feel I have the stuff.”
That may eventually prove true, but the 24-year-old right hander was a bag of jitters Friday night and was charged with seven runs, six hits and three hit batsman in 4 2/3 innings.
In stark contrast, the Reds started 34-year-old left hander Mike Minor and he took advantage to post his second straight win and lift his record to 3-10.
He held the Nats to two runs and six hits, walked nobody and struck out seven. He left after seven innings and 105 pitches.
The Reds nicked Cavalli for two runs in his first major league inning. He hit Jonathan India with a pitch, Donovan Solano beat an infield hit and India scored when shortstop C.J. Abrams threw the ball wildly. Solano scored on T.J. Friedl’s double.
Cincinnati added two more in the third on three straight hits, a single by India, pushing his hitting streak to nine games, and back-to-back doubles by Kyle Farmer and Solano.
The Nats scored a run in the third on a double by lldemaro Vargas and a single by Luis Garcia.
The Reds sent Cavalli to the showers in the fifth. They filled the bases and Erasmo Ramirez replaced Cavalli. Aristides Aquino cleared the bases with a three-run double, all three runs plastered on to Cavalli’s work sheet.
Washington first baseman Luke Voit cracked his 17th home run in the sixth, but the Reds remained in total command, 7-2.
Hunter Strickland replaced Minor in the eighth and what’s a Reds game without the bullpen putting on an adventure scene? Strickland gave up a run and the Nats had two on with one out. But Nelson Cruz bounced into an inning-ending double play, leaving the score at 7-3.
Farmer, Solano, Friedl and India each had two hits and India scored three runs. Aquino drove in three runs with his bases-loaded double.
The Reds ended their four-game losing streak and won for the fifth time in 17 games. And they ended Washington’s three-game winning streak against them after the Nationals took the last three game of a four-game series in Cincinnati earlier this season.
As journalist Charles Dryden famously wrote about the habitual last-place Washington Senators: “Washington is first in peace, first in war and last in the American League.”
Just change American to National and you have the 2022 Washington Nationals.